Riding Syllabus

There are five levels of achievement from complete beginner to advanced. You will be informed of your level of competence and placed into an appropriate class. Monitoring and continuous assessment will enable our instructors to keep each rider in their correct class and most importantly a class to keep you happy and confident to progress

Glen Jakes riding school certificates (levels 1 - 5) are awarded for each level obtained. The syllabus below contains basic guidelines of horse riding skills taught, obviously much more will be learnt throughout each level.

LEVEL 1: Beginners - Lead rein working towards coming off lead rein
Work towards and achieve:

  • Correct mounting procedure from the ground and from a leg up
  • Correct position whilst sat in the saddle at walk and trot
  • Holding, lengthening and shortening the reins correctly while mounted
  • Learn the aids for halt, walk and trot
  • Ride in walk, ride from walk to halt and halt to walk
  • Balance exercises in halt and walk
  • Controlling the horse in walk and trot, progressing onto turning and steering in rising trot (assistance given until competent)
  • Riding over trot poles aided and unaided.
  • Ride trot, standing, sitting and rising (holding the saddle or neck strap for balance if required until confident)
  • Progressing to becoming independent of the hands in trot, rising and sitting.
  • Ride in straight lines, left turns, right turns and steering through obstacles
  • Changes of rein (how to change direction safely)
  • Learn the letters around the arena and how we use them
  • Understanding the importance of basic safety rules (i.e. keeping a safe distance between the horses in the lesson)

½ hour walkouts are available as an addition to your lesson (½ hour lesson followed by a ½ hour walk out), to obtain riding / road sense / gain confidence (lead rein assisted).

LEVEL 2: Better Beginners - off lead rein, walk and trot only, preparing riders for canter when ready to move to level 3

Work towards and achieve:

  • Improving all aspects of level 1
  • Check and adjust the girth and stirrups before mounting (assistance given until competent)
  • Mount and dismount from a mounting block
  • Mount from a leg up from either side
  • Improving your position in walk and trot, work towards a balanced seat, leg in the correct position (back and around the ponies belly) Hands soft on the reins and not using reins to stand up or balance
  • Start to learn to ride 20m circles, serpentines and figures of 8 in walk and trot.
  • Be able to ride away from others at walk (riding independently)
  • Start to learn about and how to ride on the correct rising diagonals
  • Learn new changes of rein
  • How to carry, use correctly and the changing of a whip on a change of rein.
  • Understand the aids for steering and be able to explain the procedure if required
  • Walk without stirrups to improve balance
  • Trot sitting without stirrups to help strengthen legs, this exercise will make you feel more secure, therefore improve confidence (with assistance until competent) not to move to level 3 until can do this without aid of the saddle/handle.
  • Become more confident and balanced with all aspects of your riding
  • Able to hold standing trot without use of the handle and sitting trot without bouncing.
  • Trotting as a whole ride with no assistance
  • Trotting poles (learn a light balanced seat)
  • Raised trotting poles, working towards a small course of raised trotting poles, to improve balance, steering and control
  • Understand distance i.e. one or half a horse's distance apart while in the ride
  • Once the rider has achieved the required balance on a variety of horses (bouncy, slow, fast) and they look strong enough (core balance, and strength to get difficult horses moving forward) to move to level 3 they will be permitted to try a canter and then progress to level 3.
  • Halt, dismount, run up stirrups and prepare your horse/pony for the end of the lesson

½ hour instructional walkouts are available as an addition to your lessons, Have fun riding for 1 hour, vary your environment and learn new skills / Riding Road Safety
½ hour / 1 hour walkouts can also be arranged separately

LEVEL 3: ADVANCED BEGINNERS - walk, trot competently, start to learn canter with aid of saddle progressing to a balanced seat independent of the hands in canter. Starting to learn jumping position over poles and small jumps.
Work towards and achieve:

  • Improve all previous levels and be able to complete with no assistance
  • Mount unaided from the floor from both sides, having done all the relevant checks beforehand. And understanding the reasons for doing so. (Assistance given to new riders if required)
  • Riding in a correct position, legs back and around, hands soft.
  • Be fully competent at rising, sitting, standing trot and without stirrups without the use of the handle on any horse
  • 20m circles at A, C, B, and E
  • 10m circles, 3 loop serpentines and figures of 8 in trot
  • Learn how and why we change rising diagonals when riding
  • Learn the sequence of horses legs at walk and trot
  • Ride some drill movements in walk and trot
  • Understand the aids for upward and downward transitions at walk, trot and the correct aids to canter
  • Understanding and being able to communicate the correct aids for canter to ensure a correct transition. When new in the level starting off holding the handle with 1 hand, progressing onto being independent of the hand whilst in canter and having a balanced and secure seat on a variety of horses.
  • Canter large and 20m circles
  • Balance exercises in walk and trot
  • Be able to take lead file and perform school movements
  • Work away from the ride in walk and trot independently
  • Ride transitions at set markers when asked
  • Understand and achieve the correct position for jumping. Jumping practice at walk trot and canter. This will be introduced initially with pole exercises progressing onto small jumps, understanding the correct procedure when jumping i.e. approach, take off and landing while maintaining the correct balanced position (5 stages of jumping)
  • Alter stirrups for jumping and understand the reason for doing so
  • Small individual jumps progressing to small courses (with single fences)

½ hour hacks are available as an addition to your lesson to improve your skills whilst out in the open.
1 hour hacks are available as an addition to your lesson accompanied by a mounted escort

LEVEL 4: INTERMEDIATE - Walk, Trot and Canter competently independent of the hand, jumping (working on jump position over small jumps progressing to bigger jumps)
Work towards and achieve:

  • Mount unaided from the floor correctly (unaided) and able to adjust stirrups and girth unaided.
  • Perfecting everything in previous levels on any mount.
  • Ride a variety of school movements in walk and trot, Demi vault, 10m/15m circle, 4 loop serpentine
  • Complete 20m circles and figure of eight in canter being able to balance the horse through the turns and change the canter lead and understand why we do this
  • Ride halt to trot, ride various transitions, incorporating canter transitions
  • Be able to ride independently (not always as a group)
  • Riding in open order whilst working in, learning the rules of the school, i.e. pass left hand to left hand, faster paces on outside track, walk and trot only
  • Learning about the horses bend and how to ride/improve this
  • Work in pairs, and drill rides, in walk and trot
  • Start to learn how to canter without stirrups
  • Learn how to identify the correct diagonal through feel, not sight, enabling you to move with the horse/pony therefore minimizing incorrect posture
  • Using your seat and weight aids more effectively allowing the horse/pony to move freely underneath you
  • Be able to canter on a correct leg, and understand why we do so
  • Learn how and why we adjust stirrups for jumping
  • Maintain light balanced seat in canter and on 20m circles
  • Lengthening and shortening strides in trot and canter
  • Jump doubles and small grids, leading up to more advanced courses
  • Watching other horses leg movements and identifying that fellow riders are on the correct diagonal/ correct leg in canter
  • Identifying correct/incorrect position and be able to provide information on how to improve and correct
  • Be able to explain the aids for transitions, turns and circles
  • General improvement in all aspects of riding skills, safety and horsemastership

1 and 2 hour hacks available. These can be arranged separately for riders who are confident, safe and secure throughout all paces, these hacks are a more challenging ride. Dates and Times are displayed within the office, via our website and via our Facebook pages.

LEVEL 5: ADVANCED-INTERMEDIATE / ADVANCED - walk, trot, canter in a balanced and confident seat. Jumping a variety of jumps. Learning basic lateral movements
Work towards and achieve:

  • All previously learned skills will be put to the test and brushed up on
  • Mount/dismount from either side
  • Ride with confidence and good form at all paces
  • Work in open order, understanding all of the school rules
  • Ride with and without stirrups over ground poles and small courses of jumps
  • Able to ride balanced without stirrups in walk, trot and canter
  • Work drill rides in walk, trot and canter
  • Improving your ability to ride more varied and challenging mounts
  • Learn how to improve the horses way of going
  • Assessing good and bad sides of your horse, knowledge of why this happens and what exercises could strengthen and improve muscle tone
  • Be able to ride a 3 loop serpentine in canter whilst balancing the horse through the turns and changing the canter lead
  • Learning lateral movements and the correct aids to ask for this i.e. turn on the forehand, shoulder in, rein back, leg yield.
  • Knowledge of the correct distance for trotting poles and jumps
  • Ride a course of jumps at various height and widths
  • Able to discuss points from all class levels
  • Know all foot falls of horse in all paces, lengthening and shortening stride
  • Understand the terms 'tracking up' and how to achieve this
  • Prevention measures signs of problems developing, exercises and techniques to reduce such problems developing any further
  • Gain more knowledge upon the area of safety of your horse, yourself and others around you
  • Able to ride any school movement in walk, trot and canter and able to balance the horse correctly whilst riding the exercise.
  • Canter large as a ride with school movements and keep your horse under control.

1 and 2 hour hacks available. These can be arranged separately for riders who are confident, safe and secure throughout all paces, these hacks are a more challenging ride. Dates and Times are displayed within the office, via our website and via our Facebook pages.